Thursday, May 14, 2015

My (Non) Quiet Running Mind: As Told Through 4 Sunrise Miles


Ugh, I'm tired.
My legs feel like tree trunks this morning. No, like actual tree trunks. Why are they so heavy? Am I even moving? Are we there yet?
Let's just get through this. I'm going to be so busy today. 7 patients to see, Girls On The Run, piano for Belle, Shawn has physical therapy.
Seriously, are we there yet?
Good morning, God. Thank you for this day. Thank you for allowing me to know You. Thank you for my family, my friends, this moment. I start this day feeling grateful. A little grumpy, but grateful. Thank you for this amazing sunrise.
Oh, the sunrise is really beautiful this morning! Good morning cows! I wonder who owns those cows? I've passed by them so often that I feel like I know them. They look so relaxed and rested, unlike myself. My slow moving, can't catch my breathe tired self.
Slow it down, Liv. BREATH.
Did I put the clothes in the dryer last night? Shit, I don't think I did. One more thing to do when I get home.
Brees wants oatmeal for breakfast. She will be waiting for me when I get home. "Did you have a good run, Mommy?". She is so thoughtful and kind. I love that she always asks me how I am, how I'm doing.
I need to call MY mom and check on her and make sure everything's all set for her surgery. That will make her feel a little more calm, I think, to have that support. I know she's nervous even though she's playing it cool.
God, please protect my mom and take care of her during this surgery. Please bless her with good health, no complications, and a smooth recovery.

Oh, hello lungs! Thanks for coming to work today! Ahhh, it feels good to catch my breathe.
Hey, that new building on the corner is really coming along! I still don't know what they're building there, I need to ask my neighbor, she always knows about that kind of stuff.
I need to get those clothes out of the attic for Amy. She'll be having the baby before I even pass my maternity clothes on to her at this point. I miss being pregnant. Will I ever be pregnant again? Will I ever get over the yearning to be pregnant?
Lord, I trust in You and Your plan for us. Please help Shawn and I to be accepting of Your will, help us to have faith in You, to trust in the journey set out before us. Help us to make the most of each day, each phase, each chapter, help us to slow down and enjoy where we are, right now.
The weather is so perfect today. I love these early morning runs, the quiet, the crisp air.
Did Shawn remember to change the air filter? I need to ask him. I need to put it on the calendar so we don't forget.
I need to sit down with the whole damn calendar and start planning for the summer. So many camps, trips, weekends, recitals.
I can't wait for our trip to Arkansas. A new place to explore. We're totally going to do a birthday run while we're there.
What's for dinner tonight? I forgot what's on the meal plan. I'm loving all of the outdoor meals we've been doing lately. Have to get them in before the hellacious summer heat sets in.
AH, running in summer!!!!

Oh hello legs! Glad you could join the party!
My right IT band has been really tight lately, I need to get to yoga this week and work it out.
I need to get the girls to the dentist this month. When's the last time I've been to the dentist? Does anyone actually have time to go to the dentist? Maybe when the semester is over.
Thank God finals are over! A whole week to relax before the summer session starts.
I can't believe I'm in school again. It feels so good to be back at it. I've really learned a lot this semester. Mostly about how much I DON'T know. Holy crap there's a lot of information out there.
Oh, I love this song!!
"You'll come, let Your glory fall when you respond to us.
Spirit rain, flood into our thirsty hearts again!"
My heart feels so full. There's not a cloud in the sky! What a beautiful way to start the day!
I definitely needed this. This is way better than sleeping in! I will feel so rested after I'm down with this run, even if I did start out with tree trunk legs.
I remember climbing trees with my brother when we were little. We weren't scared of anything. I want to take the kids on a real camp out this year. River might be a little young but maybe we could do a mini trip?
I think I'm going to add apples to my overnight oats today. Should I do a Whole 30? Everyone's doing Whole 30s these days. I don't think I'm willing to eat that much meat, though. Or cut out quinoa. I freakin' love quinoa.
I do want to make my own kombucha, though. Julie said she has a scoby I can have.

My legs feel so good today. The weight lifting sessions are definitely improving my running endurance.
I can't wait for our summer boot camp group to start up. That's going to be a fun little push. And working out with friends is awesome.
I want to start a running group. Maybe a once a week thing? I don't know. Running alone is pretty awesome, too.
Did Belle pack her book bag last night? I need to fill out her field trip form this morning.
Only a few more weeks and we're home free! Goodbye 5th grade! How is she already in junior high?
We need to work on scrapbooks this summer. I can't even believe how far behind we are on photo albums and scrapbooks. I wish there were people you could pay to do that kind of stuff for you.
And someone to clean the house, too. Yeah, I need someone to do that for me as well.
God, thank you for this moment! Thank you for making me strong! Thank you for giving me peace in my heart! Help me to get through this day and to be the best version of myself that I can be!
Oh cool! Negative splits for the last 2 miles! My legs really woke up!
There's the car. Oh, over so soon? Maybe I should go around the block and squeeze in one more mile?
No, Brees will be waiting for me. And I've got to get Belle's skirt into the dryer. Man, what a beautiful run this has been.
This song is the perfect way to start my day!
"Oh no, you never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
In every high and every low
You never let go of me!"
Let's go legs, sprint it all the way to the car!
Run hard, run strong, run with pure joy!

Well, that was awesome.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mothering Fearlessly


I spent the first few years of motherhood in fear: fear that I would screw my kids up, fear that they would experience some of the hardships that I had endured during my own life, fear that I wasn't good enough, fear that someday they would want nothing to do with me, fear that I wasn't deserving of their love. I have no idea where this fear came from but it was very real and consuming. The anxiety of those early years was paralyzing at times and it stole giant chunks of my happiness. My insecurities were big and raw and prevented me from enjoying the most amazing gift I've ever been given. 

"I'm afraid that I'm going to screw up my kids" I finally admitted to a dear friend about a year ago. It felt so good to say those words out loud, to acknowledge the wall that was blocking my heart from feeling free. I was in a spiritual place, a soul searching chapter, and things were shifting in my heart. I was letting God in more and anxiety in less. And God started moving mountains in me. The more I let go of my anxiety and fears, the more I trusted in God's plan for me, the stronger I felt. "I want to be grateful, I want to REALLY enjoy my life, I want to be free of these chains that are keeping me from loving completely and without fear". I wrote those words down in a journal and prayed them over and over and over again. I don't want to be scared anymore, I just want to love and live.

Though there were things that we definitely lacked and certain aspects of our youth that we would like to improve upon with our own family, Shawn and I both had blessed childhoods. The divorces, the disappointments, the struggles: those things can't define my own family. For every thing that I lacked in my own childhood, God has provided for me ten fold in my adult life. He chose ME to be a mom to these three children, these three in particular. He entrusted them to me because He loves me. He knew that I would be the perfect mama for Belle, Brees, and River. He knew that they would teach me just as much as I would teach them. Just like my mama and I were meant to be together, too. My fears and anxieties were the chains that were binding me and keeping me from truly experiencing that truth and I was done with it. 

And so I am moving forward in my fearless year and vowing to spend more time appreciating this gift rather than being scared of it. I love my kids and I owe it to them to show them my love in a bold and fearless way. There's nothing to be scared of: we're in this together. I strive each and every day to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings we have been granted, to humble myself and ask God to take away my anxieties and fears, to replace those insecurities with a love so strong and bright that anything negative that comes our way doesn't stand a chance. Because I am a mama and I am so deserving of this love.

The gospel on Mother's Day mass summed it up much better than I ever could:

John 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.” 


Monday, April 20, 2015

Turns Out: Grad School Is Pretty Time Consuming

I've been doing a lot of writing lately, just not of the creative sort. I have only two weeks left in my first semester of grad school and I feel as though I've already aged about 5 years. No, I'm not being dramatic, it's true. I have a brand new patch of grey hair right in my very unkempt side part, my "squinting" wrinkles have deepened considerably, and I've developed a case of full blown adult acne that has led me to spend more money at Sephora than I care to admit.

But: I'm happy. I feel alive and productive and fulfilled. I have had to reconfigure my schedule and adjust to the serious lack of sleep and relearn that damn blessed APA format but I'm doing it! One week at a time, one paper after another, chapter after chapter (after chapter) of nonfiction scientific scholarly information: it's happening! I'm a grad student!

And somehow, in the midst of all this studying and writing and working, I am still living life as a wife and mother. Because what is any of this without this little tribe I am so blessed to call my own? We have been busy living the family life: celebrating Isabelle's 11th birthday, softball games, running together as a family, gardening. Shawn and I have vowed to just enjoy the journey and not to stress our way through it. Two parents in school with three busy little kids is no easy feat. It's also not the hardest thing we've ever done, either, so we're trying to keep a good perspective on the whole thing. We are learning to be patient, to overlook the small stuff (like a clean house, a concept that now seems very foreign to us), and using good time management so that we can be good students, good parents, good spouses, good runners: you catch my drift.

In between all of the craziness, the azaleas bloomed. One of my favorite parts of spring.

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We also managed to squeeze in an Easter weekend roadtrip to see our family in north Louisiana. I got the big 'ole batch of boiled crawfish I had been waiting the whole Lenten season for, enjoyed a run along the river with my sweet friend Lauren, had a girls only shopping day, went out for a night on the town with my cousins, and enjoyed Easter Sunday with a house full of family. It was exactly the get away weekend we needed to recharge.

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It's been a good couple of months and this spring time weather just makes you feel full of hope, right? Like anything is possible and maybe, just maybe, we might even muster up the energy to make that anything happen. Peace and love, my friends. Read more, clean less, and run every chance you get. That's my motto these days.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Stitch Fix: January

*Note: This is NOT a sponsored post, this is a nonprofit blog, all opinions are my own.

I've been a fan of Stitch Fix for the last 6 months and I'm so excited about all of the amazing pieces I've been able to add to my wardrobe thanks to this fun and super convenient service.

How does it work?

  • Go to and create your style profile. Be specific about your preferences, wants, and needs. Create a Pinterest style board and link it to your Stitch Fix style profile to give your stylist a feel of who you are and what you're into.
  • Decide how often you'd like to receive your fix. I am currently getting mine once a month. You can also set up a price point reference for how much you'd like to spend.
  • Your stylist will then pick out 5 items for you and ship them directly to your house for you to try on! You pay a $20 styling fee which you can use towards your order. Try on your items, keep what you love, and send the items that don't work back in the included prepaid envelope.
  • If you keep all 5 items, you get 25% off your entire order.
  • Leave lots of feedback and be specific: they really do listen and strive to send you pieces that will compliment your personal style while also pushing you to step out of your comfort zone a little bit.
My January fix was really great. I didn't request anything in particular this month but I did pin lots of looks that I'm into on my Pinterest board. One of my favorite parts of this service is the excitement of getting a box each month and having no idea what's inside! I love opening my box and discovering what my stylist has chosen! Here's what I got this month:

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Zolo Draped Knit Cardigan and Freida Ankle Length Skinny Jean:

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These jeans are a perfect fit: they are so soft and feel more like leggings than jeans. And this cardigan is SO ME. I love the funky pattern and the easy fit. I'm keeping both of these!

Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee:

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Brees decided to get in on the action, bed head and all! This top fit well and would make a great basic piece in my closet, however, I already have a top pretty similar so I'm going to send this one back.

Yuna Chevron Pointelle Knit Sweater:


I love this sweater! It's lightweight, super soft, and just the right length. I paired it with my favorite pair of ponte pants from my October fix. I will definitely be keeping this!

Queensland Dolman Jersey Top:

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These pictures: the natives are getting restless! I loved how soft and comfortable this top was, I like the off the shoulder look, I liked the fit. But, I don't really know what to do with it. Shawn said to go for it, it's sexy. Belle gave it a no, it's boring. I'm stuck on this one. Might have to try it on again just to be sure.

Have you tried Stitch Fix? Don't you just love it?! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Take the Plunge

The last couple of weeks have been stressful at work, my heart wanting to be home, my head not in the job. I've struggled with keeping the balance and feeling like I'm being the best in both places. It was a hard way to end the year: questioning where I am professionally, feeling completely lost and unfulfilled.

But this is my year of living fearless.

Late one night in October, I took the plunge and submitted my application to grad school. I didn't think about it too much, I just stayed up until 4 in the morning one night filling out applications and intentions and financial aide forms and hit submit. I took my GRE a week later, no studying or preparation involved. I just drove to the test center after work and took the damn test. I emerged 4 hours later feeling like I had just sucked out the contents of my brain with a vacuum. Shawn was completely on board. He's been telling me to apply for years now. I didn't really think that it would happen until I got an email in December saying "Hey. You. Dumbass who has no clue what you're doing. Go register for your classes. You're in". Or something like that.

Everything moved really quickly from that point. Before I even had time to really second guess myself and have my usual neurotic over thinking breakdown, I was a registered graduate student on my way to earning a Master's in Nursing with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner. Huh? Books arrived in the mail, assignments were posted, and I spent a ridiculous amount of money at Target on pretty binders and pens and sticky tabs. Because those items are very necessary to higher learning.

I capped off my first week of school with an all day orientation/faculty meet and greet. It was a bit overwhelming and I felt a little out of my league a couple of times throughout the day, sitting in a classroom with incredibly bright, articulate, impressively experienced nurses. But I felt super empowered, too. Energized, motivated, determined. One of the professors commended us for taking this next step. For wanting to be more. For stepping out of our respective comfort zones and willingly going back to being the little fishies in the big grad school pond.

As I drove away that afternoon, mentally exhausted and armed with a massive list of things to do, I felt euphoric, revived, the dark and dreary cloud that had been hanging over me for the last couple of weeks dissipated. This is it, Liv. You're going to the next level. I felt the shift, the switch turned: Beast mode. ON. I don't know how I'm going to make it all work, I'm just going to do it. It's going to take a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and resilience, but I'm going for it. I want more for myself and for my family. I want to do big things, to help people, to have more decision making capabilities, to find things I don't like and make them better. This is me making good on my promise to myself to live a fearless, faithful life. This is me living my dream.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fearless and Busy and Everything In Between

I feel like there's a moment, a season, every couple of months or so where I want to be in exactly the place where I can't be. I yearn to trade in my working mom role, the career that I love, and become a stay at home mom. I obsess over it actually. This season typically coincides with the holidays, summer vacation, the obvious occasions when one might long to have more family time, more spontaneity, less work. 

It's happening now, of course, as we wind down from the amazing whirlwind that is Christmas. The slew of New Year's resolution posts on blogs, Facebook, and Instagram don't help, either. The theme of "let's be less busy" seems to have taken over the internet these days as one post after another fills up my various feeds, encouraging me to "stop being so busy". I read a blog written by a stay at home mom yesterday encouraging us all to "stop glorifying the busy", another woman wrote about how so many of us are guilty of humble bragging in disguise, the word "busy" used as a merit badge to show how productive and superhuman awesome we are.

I see their points, I even nod my head in agreement at certain times. But I'm also left feeling extremely frustrated and confused. Not with them but with myself. I feel frustrated that I get so caught up in  my own head every couple of months, losing focus on how blessed I am and wanting a little bit of that grass that appears to be so much greener. I doubt myself and start questioning my path, wondering if I'm one of those people. The kind that glorifies it, humble brags it, wears my busyness as a merit badge. I sat on that one for a little while and really thought about it, called myself to the carpet. What is it that I'm missing that makes me feel so lost every couple of months? Am I trying to obtain something that will never be within my reach? Am I really all that busy, so much so that it calls me to question my journey? And is being busy even a bad thing?

I am a working mom with three little kids and a husband whom I love very much. I am busy, there's no two ways around it. And I don't think that being busy is a bad thing. I think that my perspective on the whole thing is what needs fixing. During this season that I charge through every couple of months, these emotionally challenging times when I find myself wanting to fill a role that I simply can not fill, I have to shift my focus and change my perspective. Being busy is not the problem, it's the reality. Cutting out distractions, however: well, that's a whole other story. Comparing myself to other mothers who live completely different lives, filling my days with activities that don't amount to anything but then wondering why I don't have time for the stuff that matters: those are problems. I need to fix that thinking, I need to stop wasting time longing for a reality that isn't going to happen at this time in my life.

But I also need to reevaluate the time that I DO have and make sure that I'm using it to the fullest. I'm busy, sure, but that doesn't mean that I can't slow down, settle in, and make the moments when I am present count. That's the perspective shift I was talking about, the swift kick in the ass I need every couple of months. I work hard and I am proud of that. There's something really satisfying to me about a long, hard day at work, a busy day. A day that involves me helping people, doing something that is bigger than me, and then coming home and still giving my all to my family. But I don't want to be so busy that I don't have enough room left in my heart for the simple moments of joy that surround me. River waiting for me at the door when I drive up from work, Brees leaving me a hand painted card to thank me for making her favorite breakfast, my heart to heart talks with Isabelle as I rush her from one practice to another. These are my moments, my working mom moments, they are my reality. 

I'm tired of the wanting, the wishing, the guilt and resentment. I'm tired of hating myself for loving to work. My New Year's resolution has nothing to do with being less busy: no resolution is going to change this season that we're in. My New Year's resolution, my word for 2015, is fearless. I'm going to live a fearless life, having a fearless amount of faith, loving fearlessly, taking chances and trying new things in a fearless way. I'm going to be busy as hell but I'm going to take the time to enjoy each and every moment. I'm not going to make excuses and I'm not going to wish for things that I don't have. I'm going to be fearlessly present, opening my heart to others in a fearless way, loving myself and where God has placed me, right here in this moment, with a fearless heart. Because that's where I am, that's who I'm designed to be. And I'm ready to own that, head held high, fist in the air, smile stretched wide, fearless spirit.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Run Liv Run: Make a Plan and Keep It Up

Shawn and I developed a habit in 2014: when we found ourselves coming up with a hundred different reasons as to why we COULDN'T do something, we challenged each other to think of at least one reason why we COULD.  Start at that place, that one reason, and take your first step. It's all downhill from there.

This week, I can think of a hundred different reasons to NOT exercise: it's really cold, I'm on call, the kids are headed back to school and dance and all of the scheduling craziness, I'm tired from the holidays, the list goes on and on.  But, I do have one amazing reason why I SHOULD exercise this week:

For the first time in many, many years, I am NOT starting over at the start of the new year.  I'm not jumping on a diet, I'm not starting a whole new exercise plan, I'm not climbing my way back up to the top and getting myself back into gear.  I'm simply continuing what I started at the beginning of last year.  I'm going to continue eating clean, balanced meals and even try a whole list of new recipes. I'm going to continue running, doing yoga, and lifting weights.  I'm going to sign up for a bunch of races this spring to continue the fun we had in the fall. I'm going to continue striving for balance in my mental, physical, and spiritual well being, taking care of myself and my family by putting in consistent effort to live a healthy and active lifestyle. I'm going to get adequate rest, take time to recover, hydrate, and eat as many fruits and veggies and whole foods as possible.  The cold weather, my busy work schedule, homework and carpool will not keep me from continuing what I've worked so hard to build.  Because I CAN do it.  One step at a time.

For me, as a busy full time working mom and now graduate student (WOOHOO!), the best way to get it done is to have a plan.  One Sunday night, I do a quick inventory of our fridge and pantry and make out my weekly meal plan and grocery list. I try to use what we have first and then work my way out from there. I try to use leftovers to create new meals. I try to keep it simple but delicious enough that I keep my family's taste buds happy and ready for more. My weekly meal plans and exercise routines are very flexible: this list is not set in stone. This is simply a guide to keep us on track and make weeknights less stressful. Because we've been doing this for almost a year now, meal planning moves pretty quickly.  I have lots of go-to recipes that I know will be a hit with everyone and I also make lots of freezer meals to save time when we are busy with the kids. It takes practice but the reward is priceless.

Weekly meal plan:

Overnight oats (my fav breakfast because there are SO MANY ways to make them, they never get boring!
Veggie filled scrambled eggs


Monday: Black bean quinoa enchilada casserole (this is the basic recipe. I make my own enchilada sauce using this recipe and I add chicken and go really light on the cheese)

Tuesday: Ground turkey meat tacos served in butter lettuce cups

Wednesday: Taco salads using leftover taco meat, loaded down with tomatoes, avocados, roasted corn, topped with Tessamae's Southwest Ranch dressing

Thursday: Spicy black bean veggie burgers on mushroom "buns" topped with tons of veggies, served with steamed asparagus

Friday: Grilled salmon, roasted red pepper quinoa, broccoli

Saturday: Clean crockpot taco chili

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner, usually gluten free waffles or pancakes topped with fruit

Weekly Workout Plan:

Monday: 3.5 mile easy run, 30 minute inversions practice

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: 30 minute Tabata/HIIT workout, 30 minutes of stretching

Thursday: 3 mile speed run

Friday: Yoga

Saturday: 4 mile tempo run

Sunday: Rest, recover, meditate, family hike or bike ride

What's your plan this week?  Do you have any recipes to share?